Microsoft finally revealed the new Surface family this week, and in doing so also provided a few hints at what the future holds for its hardware lineup. And the future is modular.
One of the highlights of this new launch is the new Surface Studio, a second-generation unit two years in the making. It comes packed with refreshed internals, though the base design remains, more or less, the same for this expensive affair.
However, as hinted by the Surface chief, Panos Panay, the technology giant is toying with the idea of a modular Surface PC and may bring this functionality over to the Surface Studio in time.
This is an idea that has taken root due to the partially modular affair of the Surface Hub 2.
Now, granted, the modular design of the Surface Hub 2 that allows for the swapping out of a processor cartridge to upgrade its internal is not exactly the most modular in the world.
The term modular itself brings to mind all the flexibility of a traditional desktop where everything is replaceable. But for a device like a Surface PC, maintaining compatibility between the variety of different parts may involve certain compromises.
It probably will be bulkier, and the device would have to make other sacrifices that a regular AIO does not have to.
Ultimately, the Surface line is all about delivering on interesting and new form factors. And if anyone can make modularity work with a small and compact form factor, it’s Microsoft.
A modular design could be great, if done right.
But it’s getting the right part that is the real deal.